Putting plastic in the oven should never be your priority while preparing your food. Many home cooks might think that there are plastic carriers that can withstand oven temperatures.
We believe it is not any kind of justifiable thought, simply because no matter the quality of plastic you use, there is a chance that the components will warp and melt even at low temperatures inside an oven.
Most people have a common question like melted plastic in oven, can I still eat food? Well, our advice is you should avoid the food if you think the plastic trays have melted or even if you smell burning plastics. We are here to tell you why you should avoid eating food if there is melted plastic in contact. Bear with us.
The Plastic Tray Melted Inside the Oven, Can You Still Eat the Food?
We ask you to say no to any food that has come in contact with a melting sheet. Many would say otherwise that you can still consume the food if there is no contamination of the burned plastic.
We say the first concern should be your health, and sometimes you won’t even realize that there could be some burned plastic remains in your food. Most importantly, the fumes that emit from heated plastic can be menacing.
So, why take a chance? Just leave the food and remake it on a high-quality aluminum sheet to avoid burning plastic.
At What Temperature Does Plastic Melts Inside an Oven?
The plastic itself is prone to melting no matter how tough and rigid it is. They are not like aluminum pans, which is the ideal food tray for use inside an oven. A wide range of plastics go on to create food trays; some are low quality, some are average, and some are known to be suitable for ovens.
For example, you can get a tray made of polyvinyl chloride, which is cheap but won’t last long inside a heating chamber. It will deteriorate and start to melt when exposed to 175°F. In comparison, some materials can go above the mentioned temp limit.
What Does It Mean by Microwave Safe and Oven Safe?
If you go to the market, you will get a lot of containers and trays marked as microwave safe. Are these ovens safe as well? Absolutely no! The microwave heats up whatever you place inside the heater differently compared to electric ovens.
Microwave doesn’t expose plastics for a longer period, whereas electric preheated ovens can comprehensively take a toll on the plastic component from the get-go.
If it is stated as microwave safe, keep in mind that it is not safe for electric oven use. Some containers are marked ‘safe to use’ for all types of ovens, but these are made with oven-proof materials like ceramics, cast iron, aluminum, and such. Plastic and wood are not ideal for lasting inside the oven.
Are There Any Oven/Microwave Friendly Plastic?
Technology has advanced to a limit where you will get a microwave and electric oven-friendly plastics in the market. As you know, there are many types of plastics available; not all will suffice your heating needs.
There is one exception, such as the CPET dual oven-able trays. These are made to withstand higher temperatures than any other plastic and are considered oven friendly.
CPET (Crystallized Polyethylene Terephthalate)
This is one plastic variation known to handle high levels of heat ranging from 40 degrees Fahrenheit to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. That being said, this is not indestructible.
This material can be adjusted in freezers, ovens, and microwaves and can be washed with dishwashers. The good thing about this component is that it is recyclable.
It is advised that even if you own a CPET plastic sheet, you should not bump the oven temperature to more than 400°F.
Doing so will hamper its functionality, and eventually, the plastic will start to warp and melt, leaving a damned smell with possibilities of fire hazard. CPET sheets can withstand temperatures up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-30 minutes.
Another plastic variation is the type 5 Polypropylene which is heat resistant, sturdy, and lightweight. It is widely used in single-use cutlery, medicine bottles, yogurt cups, and many other products.
This particular type of plastic can withstand microwave temperature at a moderate level. It is advised not to keep this plastic for too long, as it will deteriorate sooner than later.
Getting Rid of Burnt Plastic Smell
Whenever plastic burns inside an oven, it is likely to emit fumes that are extremely dangerous and toxic for your health. More importantly, these fumes can further cause fire sparks in many different ways. Let us discuss some basic ways to counter the burnt plastic smell.
Spot the Potential Burning Material
Burning plastic smells are very toxic, and it will leave a mark for your nose to catch the strong smell. We recommend you to always be alert if you are using any plastic trays, knowing it might burn. Always check for any potential burning smell.
Let in Fresh Air
The moment you detect some kind of burning smell, you should take out the food from the oven and keep the oven door open. That’s not all. If you smell burning plastic, immediately rush towards the windows-doors and open everything within your reach so that the trapped fumes can escape by circulating fresh air from outside.
If you plan to terminate the burning smell by using air fresheners, it’s not going to work. Better use a deodorant to get rid of such a strong smell. White vinegar and tea bags can also counter the critical smell.
Why Is Plastic Vulnerable Inside an Oven?
Plastic comprises compounds known as Bisphenol S or Bisphenol A as the overlap blend, and such chemicals are strictly prone to leaking into food particles when heated. These chemicals can cause cancer and other health issues. This is the main reason we say no to plastic when you plan to use something inside an oven.
When you plan to put any food inside an oven, you should always look for the materials that you are using as food trays or containers. There are cases where we have seen people put plastic sheets inside an oven and later seek answers to questions like melted plastic in oven, can I still eat food?
Practically we say no to plastic products when you want to put them inside an oven, no matter if it’s electrical or microwave.
This article is written for people who don’t know about the characteristics of plastic while placed in an oven, plus how it tampers with the food altogether. Please give it a read to know more about why we discourage plastic as oven-proof material.